We met a couple called Mel and Dave at a barbeque recently. We started chatting, as you do, over a beer and a burnt sausage. When they heard we had a building company, they poured out a tale of woe about the house they’d just built. It was such a familiar story, and such a useful lesson, we asked their permission to tell you.
Mel and Dave had signed up for an all-inclusive price ‘turn key’ deal on their dream home. It was supposed to cover absolutely everything, right down to all of the fittings: lights, taps, handles—the lot. The building company assured them that everything would be provided. Mel and Dave are busy, working parents of two kids, with little spare time. It seemed sensible to leave the details to someone else. They were careful to make sure the contract covered everything they needed—or so they thought.
Their building contract did indeed cover everything—but only to a minimum level. And there’s the rub. Anything Mel and Dave wanted beyond that minimum had to be paid for separately, and at a high cost.
‘I couldn’t believe the kitchen’, said Mel. ‘How could they think that only one power point, and one central light, would be enough?’
As soon as they realised that their home would need more than the minimum the contract allowed for, Mel and Dave started to negotiate. But sadly for them, those ‘extras’ had to be paid for separately. And they didn’t come cheap.
‘Just a few extra power points and light fittings added hundreds of dollars to the cost. And by the time we’d added in door handles and taps we liked…well, it became a bad joke.’
Mel and Dave’s experience is not unique. We’ve heard of several people who thought they were saving themselves hassles and bad surprises by signing up to an ‘all-inclusive’ building contract—only to find that they wanted and needed more than the bare minimum.
The moral of the story? Check very carefully what’s covered by your all-inclusive contract. And make sure you have good, on-going communication with your builder, so you get no painful–and expensive—surprises.